Reports of close encounters with wolves in Krkonoše area on the rise

Czech conservationists urge forest goers not to feed the animal. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 04.04.2023 10:34:00 (updated on 17.04.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

With wolves returning to Czech mountains, conservation officials warn the public to be careful when they spot them. The management of the Krkonoše National Park (KNP) in Northern Bohemia last month reported the presence of wolves, and since then the public has reported many sightings. But despite their sometimes friendly behavior, wolves are apex predators.

People should be careful when they see a wolf and, most importantly, not feed them as this makes them expect food from other people, and then become aggressive when they don’t get it.

Young wolves who have just left the pack will behave cautiously while also showing curiosity toward humans, but this does not mean that they are tame and domesticated animals. As they grow older, their bold behavior ceases.

What to do if you see a wolf

“We recommend visitors to the Krkonoše mountains to keep their dogs on a lead. And we strongly advise against trying to feed the wolves or leaving possible food or leftovers of human food for them in the wild. Property owners and cottagers should not leave leftover food outside,” KNP administrators said in a press release.

He added that people have been feeding wild bears in Slovakia, and now the bear population there has become problematic. People are also cautioned not to feed nutria in urban settings.

If the wolves start to seek out humans to get food handouts, conservationists would have to intervene.

“When meeting a wolf, you must leave it room to escape. Do not worry. The animal first examines from a distance whether you represent a threat to it. To scare him, just clap your hands, speak louder so that the wolf hears you and realizes that you are a person,” KNP administrators said.

Public should report sightings

The international project Life Wild Wolf, which is taking place in eight European countries, focuses on close encounters between wolves and humans. In the Czech Republic, the project is coordinated by Mendel University in Brno.

The public is asked to report every wolf sighting in the Krkonoše mountains with the time, date, GPS coordinates or a dot in a map application, and information about the wolf's behavior. The public can report via Facebook or via email.

The wolf was exterminated in the Krkonoše mountains in the first half of the 19th century, but since 2018 it has started to return.

“This beast has its place in nature and in our culture. It inspires respect and admiration, but sometimes also fear. Humans persecuted it mercilessly, now it is gradually returning to us and fulfilling its role as a predator in nature. Experience from Europe shows that it is possible to farm in the countryside and at the same time wild beasts can live here,” KNP administrators said.

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